OFS issues open-air fire ban

Special to WC Online

WEST CARLETON – The Ottawa Fire Service (OFS) issued an open-air fire ban for the city today (April 6) due to dry weather and dry grass still hibernating from the winter weather. 

“The OFS is implementing a ban on open air burning for the entire City of Ottawa,” OFS public information officer Carson Tharris released in a statement today. “The ban will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7.”

All open air fires are prohibited during a ban, including properties that have an Open Air Fire Permit. This ban applies to agricultural burns, brush pile burns, as well as campfires and wood burning outdoor fireplaces.

“There will be zero tolerance enforcement during the fire ban as per the Open Air Fire Bylaw,” Tharris said. “Devices which do not require a permit such as propane, ethanol, and natural gas outdoor fireplaces and barbecues are not included in the ban and residents are advised to follow the manufacturer’s specifications for safe clearances and operation.”

OFS implements a ban on open-air fires based on environmental conditions in order to prevent the rapid spread of fire due to grass and brush fires.

“Early spring conditions include a large volume of dry vegetation left over from last fall which increase risks and can quickly lead to fast and uncontrolled spread of fire,” Tharris said. “This ban will remain in place until conditions improve and the green grass starts to show through tall dead grass. We thank area residents for their patience and cooperation with this matter.”

Residents are encouraged to take advantage of weekly yard waste collection and use the following tips to prevent grass and brush fires:

Clear all combustible materials such as tree limbs, leaves and other dry materials away from buildings and propane tanks.

Keep barbecue propane tanks at least three metres from buildings.

Wood piles should be stored a safe distance from your home.

Trees should be pruned to create a good vertical separation from the ground.

Clear out any accumulated dry or dead debris from your property.

“Carelessly discarded cigarettes continue to be a major cause of grass fires during these dry periods,” Tharris said. “Smokers are reminded to please use care when butting out. Do not throw lit cigarettes out vehicle windows. We appreciate your assistance in preventing grass or other dangerous fires to occur during high-risk periods.”

West Carleton firefighters already doused one grass fire in Kinburn mid-March.

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